What I'm Doing: Avoiding my portfolio

Dan Ariely

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal:
It's not necessarily any of our business, but ever since the financial crisis really got going we've been asking a pretty simple question: What are you doing? With your money. We've heard from a lot of people.
Including this guy, who's usually telling us what we're doing and why.


Dan Ariely:
My name is Dan Ariely. I'm the James B. Duke professor of behavioral economics at Duke University and author of "Predictably Irrational."

I am trying to keep track of what is happening in terms of policy, but the government is doing what other countries are doing. But at the same time I'm trying not to look at my own personal portfolio. In fact, I forgot even what's my password to check my online account. I made a vow not to check it.

Oddly what happened is I walked into the office, the phone was ringing, I picked up the phone. At the same time started opening letters, and before I knew it I realized I had my statement in my hand. And I realized how much money I have lost.

And the real dilemma for me that moment was, "Am I going to tell my wife or not?" She was going to get upset of course. It was Friday, and we were going to go away for the weekend for the first time in a long, long time. And I decide not to tell her.

It worked well. I didn't tell her the whole weekend, and I didn't tell her until now, we'll see if she listens to this. But the thing is that, I feel a few years before I retire, I've kind of changed my strategy and what I don't want to do is to basically destroy my days. I know from personal experience that the days when I look at my portfolio and I see that I've lost money, I just get depressed. What use is it? So, the best advice I have is: don't look.

Ryssdal: Dan Ariely teaches behavioral economics at Duke.
His most recent book is called "Predictably Irrational."

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